RSG089: Jay Cradeur on What It’s Like to Drive a Taxi!

If you’d like to read a transcript of this podcast, please click here.

Over the past 5 years, Uber and Lyft have seen explosive growth. One of the casualties of that growth is the taxi industry. However, is driving a taxi really that bad? We sent senior RSG contributor Jay Cradeur to find out, and here’s my interview with Jay about his experience as a taxi driver compared to a rideshare driver.


  • Today I’m chatting with Jay Cradeur, one of our writers, and an Uber/Lyft driver with over 23,000 trips
  • Jay recently took on a new project for RSG: driving a taxi!
  • We’re going to be chatting about taxi driving, how it compares to rideshare driving, and how much Jay earned as a taxi driver
  • Check out Techmeme, a website that people in the tech industry visit multiple times a day to keep up on the latest news
  • The Techmeme Ride Home takes what is good at and distills it into podcast form. Same news headlines, same up to the minute news, plus context and conversation around what happened today in the world of tech

Interview with Jay Cradeur

  • Jay is a writer with RSG, rideshare driver, entrepreneur and nomad – he’s visited 33 countries!
  • Jay’s given over 23,000 rides
  • Jay’s recent book, What’s Next, lays out the essential tools for the ultimate life of work and travel.   You can download Jay’s book at
  • Jay earns $2,000 a week rideshare driving, which we’ve covered before – Jay credits being very focused and disciplined for why he’s able to earn that much (he works roughly 50-52 hours/week)

Getting Started Taxi Driving

  • Initially thought it was a great idea – Jay always wondered what it was like to drive a taxi
  • Sign up process was more difficult than he anticipated
  • Had to take a quiz, fill out more information, and find your own taxi company
  • Couldn’t do everything online, like you basically can with Uber/Lyft

Driving a Taxi

  • Had to pay a ‘gate’ (fee), which was $95 and you could drive for 12 hours – basically encourages you to drive the full 12 hours even if you don’t want to
  • Have to return your vehicle with gas, too – different from rideshare driving
  • A lot more skill in being a taxi driver than rideshare driver

Taxi Drivers and Passengers

  • Taxi passengers really preferred taking taxis, even if it ended up being more expensive than Uber/Lyft
  • Taxi passengers had strong feelings in favor of taxis
  • Taxi drivers had a sense of camaraderie, one you don’t find among rideshare drivers because they don’t get together like taxi drivers do
  • More senior passengers, more female passengers while driving taxi than driving rideshare

Earnings While Driving a Taxi

  • Did not make as much while driving for a taxi company than driving rideshare
  • However, it was close! Jay made around 70% of his rideshare earnings while driving taxi
  • Other markets may be different
  • Keep in mind that Uber/Lyft rides are also being subsidized, drivers get bonuses, etc. – that isn’t going to last forever

Taxi Driving vs. Rideshare Driving

  • Want to be a taxi driver? Check and see if your market is comparable – are taxi prices about the same as rideshare prices? If so, your demand will be higher
  • Do you want less stress in your driving life? Taxi driving might be for you – more ‘big fish’ rides vs. a bunch of short rides
  • Are you a good driver? If so, taxi driving might be for you – do you like to show off your knowledge of your city? Taxi drivers take pride in their knowledge
  • Don’t have a car? Taxi companies provide vehicles for drivers


  • Big thanks to Jay for coming on the podcast and for doing this experiment!
  • Driving taxi is clearly a lot more involved than driving rideshare, so props to Jay for taking this on and explaining his experience to us
  • Interesting to hear how many passengers voted with their wallet by choosing (more expensive) taxi rides over Uber/Lyft rides
  • Going to be more of these interviews in the future, branching out from rideshare driving to delivery, charging scooters, etc. What would you like to learn more about? Let us know in the comments below!

Show Notes

If you’d like to read a transcript of this podcast, please click here.

-Harry @ RSG